48: Lisa Reinhardt

Lisa Reinhardt tastemaker.jpg
Photo courtesy of Lisa Reinhardt
From now 'til we publish the 2012 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times and Chow Bella present 100 Tastemakers -- Valley residents who make the cut in our culinary scene. Some you'll know; for others, it'll be a first introduction (but likely not the last). While you're here, check out our 100 Creatives on Jackalope Ranch.

Today: A woman who has a "wei" with chocolate. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

See also: Last Night's Chocolate and Wine at Scottsdale Culinary Festival Not So Chocolatey

Tastemaker 48: Lisa Reinhardt

Wei of Chocolate founder Lisa Reinhardt lived in Asia for 11 years, spending much of that time in the Himalayas studying meditation. Upon returning home, she knew she wanted to share the insights of life in the East, but wasn't sure how to do it until she had an "ah-ha" moment while eating chocolate. She says, "In meditation, people often focus on the breath. But what if we focused on savoring chocolate instead? Chocolate is the perfect medium, because it makes it easy to rest in the present moment. The key is to eat only amazing chocolate - then there's no chance of distraction!"

And a chocolate company was born. Not just any chocolate company -- we have spotted Reinhardt's confections everywhere from local farmers markets to the main floor of ABC Carpet in New York City. Sweet.

I arrived in Phoenix with... three friends, a dog and a VW camper van - all of us (except the VW) just back to the US from living in Kathmandu, Nepal.

If I was sitting down to dinner for six, my five dream dining companions would be... Nobel Peace Prize Laureates HH the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi, writer & activist Gloria Steinem, comedian John Cleese and my old friend Bill Woodward, who would know exactly how to keep the conversation rolling as I grinned from ear to ear.

One place everyone who comes to Phoenix must eat is... Nourish - especially if Chef Dan Santos has made a batch of dairy-free ice cream with our chai spice chocolate. As one of his customers said, "It's roll around naked good!"

One menu item this city could do without is... anything that includes genetically modified and non-food ingredients. Why do we accept that's it's okay to put industrial chemicals, petroleum products and untested Franken-food ingredients into our food? Our bodies do wonderfully well on whole, pure foods found in nature - there is no improvement on that. Health and wellness begin with real food, prepared with care and shared with those we love.

My last meal in Phoenix would be... made from goodies from the farmers' market, including a salad made with some of Carl Seacat's tomatoes, Roger Kamb's Especial tuna, and local goat cheese. I love Red Bird's whole chicken baked with Himalayan salt, fresh pepper, olive oil and Terra Verde's Farms Spicy O's. To finish it off, nothing can beat a piece of flourless chocolate cake washed down with one of Mario Etsitty's frescas.

The Tastemakers so far:
100: Tracy Dempsey
99: Craig DeMarco
98: Lara Mulchay
97: M.J. Coe
96: Betty Alatorre de Hong
95: Eric Schaefer
94: Hanna Gabrielsson
93: Shinji Kurita
92: Silvana Salcido Esparza
91: Mike Pitt
90: Christina Barrueta
89: Christopher Gross
88: Jan Wichayanuparp and Helen Yung
87: DJ Fernandes
86: Cullen Campbell
85: Chris Lee
84. Gwen Ashley Walters
83: Tony Morales
82: Lylah Ledner
81: Andrea White
80: Lori Hashimoto
79. Mrs. White
78: Eugenia Theodosopolous
77: Lou & Lovey Borenstein
76: Anthony Patafio
75: Carl Seacat
74: Sacha Levine
73: Sharon Salomon
72: Johnny Chu
71: Susie Timm
70: Jason Silberschlag
69: Gina Miller
68: Cindy Gentry
67: Amy Binkley
66: Dave Anderson
65: Mark Tarbell
64: Marianne Belardi
63: Audrey Lasalle
62: Brandon Gauthier
61: Brad and Kat Moore
60: Denise Clayton
59: Nobuo Fukuda
58: Richie Moe
57: Robin Trick
56: Alberto Della Casa and Letizia de Lucia
55: Farah Khalid
54: Dave Andrea
53: Vincent Guerithault
52: Danielle Leoni
51: Stan Zawatski
50: Maya Dailey
target="_blank">49: Duc Liao

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Nourish at Optima Camelview Village - CLOSED

7147 E. Rancho Vista Drive, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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